Spotlight

Earlier this year, reports started to surface on Russian media of a strange phenomenon. In certain areas of central Moscow, mostly within sight of the Kremlin walls, satellite signals were scrambled. Instead of showing true locations, people's phones were showing them almost 20 miles away at Vnukovo airport.

Dr. Humphreys spoke with CNN about the reported GPS spoofing occurring near the Kremlin. Read the full article here.

GPS World recently featured a paper authored by Dr. Humphreys and students from the Radionavigation Lab. The paper discusses the details of low-cost precise positioning, particularly in regards to autonomous driving.

In order to achieve this level of precision, a dense reference network is required. The paper outlines the implementation of RNL's own network, the Longhorn Reference Network. The paper also includes a demonstration of precise positioning being used for lane-keeping in autonomous vehicles.

Read the full paper here.

IEEE Spectrum recently featured an article discussing centimeter-accurate GPS positioning for automated driving. Dr. Todd Humphreys discussed why centimeter-accurate GPS positioning is necessary, as well as some of the challenges that have yet to be solved.

“When there’s a standard deviation of 10 cm, the probability of slipping into next lane is low enough—meaning 1 part in a million" [Humphreys] said. This is opposed to the current meter-level accurate GPS tracking, which can increase the probability of lane slipping up to 1 or 10 - or maybe higher.

However, there are still some obstacles remaining, one of which is the time it takes for a centimeter-accurate GPS signal to converge. Right now, that time could be up to 5 minutes. According to Humphreys, that amount of time would be unacceptable to most users: “My vision of the modern driver is one who’s impatient, who wants to snap into 10-cm-or-better accuracy and push the ‘autonomy’ button."

See a video overview here, or read the paper.

nbc

A recent NBC News article on the threat of GPS jamming and spoofing featured comments and insight from Dr. Todd Humphreys. The article also cites some interesting cases of intentional GPS jamming in Europe and the UK.

"The threat to the Global Positioning System (GPS) — the critical space-based navigational, positional and timing network — is escalating as potentially more destructive "spoofing" devices become readily available."

"Humphreys estimates that ... "the difficulty of mounting a spoofing attack has dropped by maybe a factor of a hundred since 2012," when he first raised the alarm."

Read the full story on NBC News website.

Take a look at our latest paper on the topic:
GNSS Spoofing and Detection

spectrum

Dr. Todd Humphreys recently co-authored an article on GPS spoofing defenses with Dr. Mark Psiaki. This article is the cover story of the August 2016 issue of IEEE Spectrum magazine.

"Cellphone towers, stock exchanges, and the power grid all rely at least partly on GPS for precise timing. A well-coordinated spoof could interrupt communications, confuse automated financial traders, and inflict crippling power outages. In a worst-case scenario, a spoofer’s operator could overtake airplanes or ships to induce a crash, facilitate a heist, or even kidnap a VIP."

"There are three main ways to protect against GPS spoofing: cryptography, signal-distortion detection, and direction-of-arrival sensing. No single method can stop every spoof, but Psiaki’s team has found that combining strategies can provide a reasonably secure countermeasure that could be commercially deployed."

Read the full story on IEEE Spectrum website.

Take a look at our latest paper on the topic:
GNSS Spoofing and Detection

kxan

Austin, TX -- Dr. Todd Humphreys and his students at the UT Radionavigation Lab recently demonstrated lane-departure warning system at the University of Texas at Austin campus deployed on a vehicle.

"While it may only be a centimeter at a time, what a University of Texas at Austin professor and his team have been able to accomplish is a monumental step in making autonomous vehicles a part of everyday life."

"By working with local start-up, RadioSense, and using an app called Lane Watcher, the team is now able to demonstrate the accuracy of the GPS technology. Though the app won’t need to be used with the GPS, it helps to demonstrate visually what’s going on in the brains of the car. The app will show your vehicle on the road and immediately change colors when the car begins to drift."

Read the full story and watch the video on KXAN website.

Take a look at our latest papers on the topic:
A Dense Reference Network For Mass Market Centimeter Accurate Positioning
On the Feasibility of cm-Accurate Positioning via a Smartphone's Antenna and GNSS Chip

kxan

Austin, TX -- Dr. Todd Humphreys and his students at the UT Radionavigation Lab have built an outdoor arena for testing automated drones as a part of the Machine Games project. KXAN News recently covered this story.

"There is a lot to learn when it comes to the technology behind drones and how it could eventually affect our everyday lives. That’s what researchers at the University of Texas are looking to answer with the Machine Games project."

"The overall goal of the project is to make drones a part of everyday life, helping with tasks from searching for an open parking spot to delivering a pizza without human assistance. UT Professor Todd Humphreys says that drone technology is primitive and they are in the beginning stages of discovering all it can really do in the next few years."

Read the full story and watch the video on KXAN website.

newyorker

The New Yorker featured an article on GPS: its importance in our lives and its vulnerability to spoofing attacks. Research related to GPS spoofing at the UT Radionavigation Lab was the center of attention in this write-up by Greg Milner.

"The U.S. Department of Homeland Security classifies sixteen infrastructure sectors—including dams, agriculture, health care, emergency services, and information technology—as critical, and therefore particularly vulnerable to sabotage. All but three require G.P.S. for essential functions." ... "An expert in software-defined radio—the modification of radio signals with a computer, as opposed to mixers, amplifiers, and other hardware—Humphreys used a general-purpose processor to build what he calls a “formidable lying machine,” a box that “listens” to the G.P.S. signal, gradually builds a bogus signal that aligns perfectly with the real, and then slowly overtakes it."

Read the full story on The New Yorker website.

kxan

Austin, TX -- "Imagine a GPS that can place you within a centimeter of where you are located on a map. This type of accuracy would not only help keep you and your family safe, but it could potentially help drivers navigate the roads better. It’s called precise vehicle positioning and it’s 100 times more accurate than your standard GPS. University of Texas professor Todd Humphreys has been working on the project for four years." 

The UT Radionavigation Lab is working on making Austin the first city in the world with mass-market centimeter-accurate GPS. To acquire this accuracy, 20 solar powered reference stations will be placed around Austin by the end of May. You can think of this network of 20 reference stations as smart infrastructure that make it possible to use a $50 device, instead of a $500 or $5000 device, to locate a bicyclist, a bus, or a car within its lane of travel. KXAN news covered this story featuring Dr. Humphreys and his students.

Read the full story and watch the video clip on the KXAN website.

Take a look at our latest papers on the topic:
A Dense Reference Network For Mass Market Centimeter Accurate Positioning
On the Feasibility of cm-Accurate Positioning via a Smartphone's Antenna and GNSS Chip

hyundai

Berkeley, CA -- Dr. Humphreys delivered the Hyundai Distinguished Lecture at UC Berkeley.  The seminar series is a feature of the Hyundai Center of Excellence at UC Berkeley.  

Precise and reliable location is one of the primary challenges of vehicle automation. Driver safety demands utter reliability yet the economics of the mass market demand commodity-level costs. In his presentation, Dr. Humphreys argued that low-cost and robust centimeter-accurate satellite navigation is possible and is a must-have component of automated vehicle sensor suites. Such a system under development at the University of Texas at Austin is 100 times more precise than standard GPS and 100 times less expensive than existing precision GPS systems.

Download the presentation.

Take a look at our latest papers on the topic:
A Dense Reference Network For Mass Market Centimeter Accurate Positioning
On the Feasibility of cm-Accurate Positioning via a Smartphone's Antenna and GNSS Chip

dailybeast

“For at least two years, the Palestinian terror group Islamic Jihad could see what the Israeli military’s surveillance drones saw. That’s the accusation of Israeli prosecutors, who this week arrested a man [Maagad Ben Juwad Oydeh] they saw hacked into the drones’ video feeds. Israeli authorities have provided only the barest details of Oydeh’s background and alleged crimes. The drone hack is possibly the most dramatic of Oydeh’s alleged crimes, if not the most useful for terrorist planners.”

Dr. Todd Humphreys and Dr. Richard Langley (University of New Brunswick) explain how Oydeh could have managed to hack the drones' video feed, and how Israeli authorities may have come to know about it.

Read the article on thedailybeast.com.

comsoc

Dr. Todd Humphreys wrote an article for the February 2016 issue of IEEE ComSoc Technology News.

“Professor Todd Humphreys, an expert in the James Bond world of faking out GPS signaling, tells us what the latest news is for the reliability of the GPS systems that have become increasingly important to our everyday lives. Will GPS become the next front in the war between the modern world and the hackers and terrorists who wish to disrupt it? If so it will be engineers and not super spies who will save the day.”

Read the article on comsoc.org.

wired

A recent article on Wired featured comments from Dr. Humphreys's Congressional testimony on the threat of rogue UAVs.

“With only minor changes to [a] UAV’s autopilot software, of which highly capable open-source variants exist, an attacker could readily disable geofencing and could configure the UAV to operate under ‘radio silence,’ ignoring external radio control commands and emitting no radio signals of its own” ... “Imposing restrictions on small UAVs beyond the sensible restrictions the Federal Aviation Administration recently proposed would not significantly reduce the threat of rogue UAVs yet would shackle the emerging commercial UAV industry”.

Read the article on wired.com.

nbc

The UT Radionavigation Lab featured on NBC Nightly News with Kristen Welker on October 31, 2015. The segment focused on anti-UAV techniques developed by Dr. Humphreys and his students, which have come into the spotlight following the inadvertent landing of a drone at the White House.

The news segment can be viewed at the NBS News website.

Todd Humphreys

Austin, TX—Dr. Todd Humphreys delivered a keynote presentation at the 2015 Texas GIS Forum, where he talked about rendering of geo-referenced decimeter accurate maps using Low-Cost Mobile Positioning on a smartphone along with the smartphone's camera.

This presentation focused on techniques for performing carrier-phase differential positioning using a low-quality antenna, and generation of an accurate 3-dimensional point cloud using a smartphone. The points in the generated map are geo-referenced which enables distributed generation of maps, unlike the standard computer vision techniques where a continuous sequence of overlapping images is required.

The presentation can be downloaded from here.

RSI, UMN

Minneapolis, MN—Dr. Todd Humphreys delivered a seminar at the Roadway Safety Insititute at University of Minnesota, where he talked about Low-Cost Centimeter-Accurate Mobile Positioning with attention to application in Vehicular Networks. GNSS, along with other sensors, will be a part of the Connected (Semi-) Autonomous Vehicles of the future, and accurate location and timing via GNSS is an important aspect of roadway safety.

The primary barrier to performing centimeter-accurate carrier-phase-differential GNSS (CDGNSS) positioning on smartphones and other consumer devices is their low-cost, low-quality GNSS antennas that have poor multipath suppression. The time correlation of multipath errors and their magnitude significantly increases the initialization period of GNSS receivers using low-cost antennas.

This presentation focused on techniques for reducing the initialization time for centimeter-accurate positioning on mobile devices. It further examined technical and market prerequisites for improved safety for semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles, globally registered augmented and virtual reality, and crowd-sourced three-dimensional mapping.

Watch the full length presentation at Roadway Safety Institute webpage.

Tampa, FL—Nathan Green nathanwon the best paper presentation award in the Advanced Technologies in High Precision GNSS Positioning Session of the ION GNSS+ 2015 conference for his paper entitled "Fault Free Integrity of Mid-Level Voting for Triplex Differential GPS Solutions."

Details about the session proceedings: Session E1: Advanced Technologies in High Precision GNSS Positioning 1.

Scientific American Logo

"Amazon badly wants to deliver packages of DVDs and Cheez-Its to your doorstep in a matter of minutes—and it wants to use drones to do so. At a NASA convention in July, Amazon Prime Air’s vice president proposed the company’s vision for how unmanned aircraft could one day safely navigate our skies. And NASA recently began testing its first version of an air traffic management system for drones—the agency is partnering with companies including Amazon and Verizon to develop the system."

"For now, regulations and technical issues make widespread drone deliveries impossible, which means an army of flying machines probably will not fetch your holiday gifts this year or even the next. Here’s what experts note as the major challenges to resolve before delivery by drone becomes a reality."

Continue reading the article at Scientific American, which features comments by Dr. Humphreys.

Ken Pesyna, Jr.

Mountain View, CA—Ken Pesyna, a doctoral candidate at The University of Texas Electrical Engineering School, has been selected to receive the 2015 Marconi Society Paul Baran Young Scholar Award. The 28-year-old researcher will receive the award at the Royal Society in London on October 20, 2015. 

“Ken’s work on centimeter-accurate and power efficient GPS may have turned conventional wisdom about this field on its head,” says Bob Tkach, a Marconi Fellow and chairman of the Young Scholar selection committee. “His ability not only to develop a new theory but to prove it in practice was truly impressive. Ken is on track to make breakthrough contributions in our field.”

Continue reading the announcement from the Marconi Society.

The National PNT Advisory Board invited Dr. Humphreys to speak at their "GPS toughening" working group meeting on June 10 and then to present before the full Advisory Board on June 11.  His presentation concerned GPS navigation message authentication as a means of "toughening" GPS receivers against unintentional and intentional GPS spoofing.  As part of the presentation, Humphreys offered a categorization and an ordering of spoofing attacks and defenses that will be a good starting point for a proper civil GPS threat assessment.

See the meeting agenda, the posted slides (pdf) for "Toughening Techniques for GPS Receivers: Navigation Message Authentication," and the full presentation (pptx).  

The Cockrell School of Engineering and the Student Engineering Council (SEC) presented Dr. Todd Humphreys with the 2015 Outstanding Faculty Award for the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics on April 30th, 2015.  Awardees are selected within each department by the SEC on the basis of nominations from undergraduate students.  The Radionavigation Lab's Deep Mukherji presented Dr. Humphreys with the award at the annual SEC awards banquet.
 

Apple and Coherent Navigation

Apple confirmed on May 16, 2015 that they have acquired the startup Coherent Navigation, which Dr. Humphreys co-founded in 2008 together with Clark Cohen (CEO at founding), Bill Bencze (VP of Engineering), Brent Ledvina (VP of Business Development), Mark Psiaki, and Mike Eglington. Dr. Humphreys left Coherent Navigation in 2009 to join the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin, but continued to collaborate as a private consultant and sub-contractor until the acquisition. Congratulations to the Coherent Navigation team for their hard work over the years -- especially to Brent Ledvina and Bill Bencze, the two co-founders who shepherded the venture all the way through acquisition. Congratulations also to other key players: Paul Lego (CEO of Coherent Navigation at the time of acquisition), Isaac Miller (CTO of Coherent Navigation), and Rob Brumley (COO of Coherent Navigation). Never in recent memory has there been assembled such a concentration of position, navigation, and timing expertise in a single startup as in Coherent Navigation.

The acquisition was covered by MacRumors, the New York Times, and other news agencies.

IEEE Spectrum

"Engineers at the University of Texas at Austin have now made a small, cheap GPS system for mobile devices that gives centimeter-precision positioning accuracy. Such centimeter precision could let drones deliver packages to your porch, autonomous vehicles navigate safely, and be used in precision farming. It could also allow for some neat virtual reality tricks and games if coupled with a smartphone camera.

Continue reading the IEEE Spectrum article, which features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

UT

"AUSTIN, Texas—Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a centimeter-accurate GPS-based positioning system that could revolutionize geolocation on virtual reality headsets, cellphones and other technologies, making global positioning and orientation far more precise than what is currently available on a mobile device.

Continue reading the UT press release, which features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

KUT

"AUSTIN - If you use your smartphone for directions, you know how annoying it can be when the tracking device gets your locations wrong. Now a team of researchers at the University of Texas’ Cockrell School of Engineering say they may have fixed that problem.  But there’s more: They also think they’ve brought a science fiction dream closer to reality.  In the space adventure series Star Trek canon, the holodeck was a room where the characters could create virtual worlds and interact within them.

Continue reading the KUT article, which features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

KVUE

"AUSTIN - In this Tech Tuesday, a tool we use all the time is getting better and it's all thanks to research at the University of Texas. "We use GPS in a variety of ways including getting around, but the University of Texas is about to make GPS systems much more valuable. 'We have developed a way to get low-cost, very precise locations, centimeter precise locations,' said Todd Humphreys, Assistant Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at the University of Texas.

Continue reading the KVUE article, which features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

Dr. Humphreys and Secretary Foxx

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx was hosted by the Radionavigation Lab and other members of WNCG and CTR for a discussion on the future of transportation.  The discussion covered secure perception for autonomous systems and also centimeter-accurate low-cost positioning for intelligent transportation systems and for virtual reality.

Read more about Secretary Foxx's visit in a WNCG article.  

AP"NEW YORK (AP) — To improve airline safety, maybe we need to remove the pilots.

"That radical idea is decades away, if it ever becomes a reality. But following the intentional crashing of Germanwings Flight 9525 by the co-pilot, a long-running debate over autonomous jets is resurfacing. At the very least, some have suggested allowing authorities on the ground to take control of a plane if there is a rogue pilot in the cockpit.

Continue reading the AP article, which features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

NSFDr. Humphreys has been selected to receive the NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award to study “Secure Perception for Autonomous Systems.”  

The award was announced in a press release from the Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics Department at UT-Austin.   View the NSF's summary of all the 2015 recipients of the CAREER award.  

 

Todd HumphreysDr. Humphreys testified at a hearing of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency, titled "Unmanned Aerial System Threats: Exploring Security Implications and Mitigation Technologies," on March 18, 2015.  View the oral and written testimony at the website of the Committee.  The full video is accessed from the upper right hand corner of the page.

The hearing was discussed in a CNN article and an Inside Unmanned Aerial Systems article.  Dr. Humphreys authored an op-ed in the Star-Telegram on the same subject. 

CBS Overnight America discusses the problem of preventing drones from entering restricted areas.   Listen to a segment of the radio show, which features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

NBC News"Mysterious, middle-of-the-night drone flights by the U.S. Secret Service during the next several weeks over parts of Washington — usually off-limits as a strict no-fly zone — are part of secret government testing intended to find ways to interfere with rogue drones or knock them out of the sky, The Associated Press has learned. A U.S. official briefed on the plans said the Secret Service was testing drones for law enforcement or protection efforts and to look for ways, such as signal jamming, to thwart threats from civilian drones. The drones were being flown between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m.

Access the NBC news article and video, which includes an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

Ken PesynaAustin, TX—Ken Pesyna gave a GPS World webinar on GNSS antennas. You can view the webinar recording, or the related paper and magazine article.

IEEE Computer Society"No system or software designer, innovator, or inventor has a perfect record. As with baseball sluggers, a 33 percent success rate with significant projects—delivered on time without errors—probably qualifies you as a superstar. So the act of coming up with a bad idea, or a failed implementation thereof, doesn't disqualify you from getting kudos.  But there are consumer-level bad ideas and industrial strength bad ideas. The latter are the more worrisome, especially if they recur with any frequency. As such, I’ll deal with them here.

Continue reading the IEEE Computer article, which discusses Dr. Humphrey's research.

Austin, TX — Ken Pesyna, Robert Heath, and Todd Humphreys authored the cover story of GPS World on centimeter-accurate positioning using smartphone GNSS antennas in the February 2015 edition.

gpsworld"The smartphone antenna’s poor multipath suppression and irregular gain pattern result in large time-correlated phase errors that significantly increase the time to integer ambiguity resolution as compared to even a low-quality stand-alone patch antenna. The time to integer resolution — and to a centimeter-accurate fix — is significantly reduced when more GNSS signals are tracked or when the smartphone experiences gentle wavelength-scale random motion.

Continue reading the GPS World article, or download a PDF copy.

Todd Humphreys

"The Institute of Navigation (ION) has selected Todd Humphreys, assistant professor of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics at the Cockrell School of Engineering, to receive the Colonel Thomas L. Thurlow Award. Humphreys was selected 'for contributions that enhance radionavigation security and robustness in the face of intentional spoofing and natural interference.' ION presented Humphreys with the award at the ION Technical Meeting (ITM) in Dana Point, California, January 26-28.

Continue reading the announcement from the UT Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics department.

WSJ

"The Secret Service said it believes a hobbyist accidentally crashed a drone onto the White House grounds early Monday, an incident that prompted a lockdown and delivered a wake-up call over the potential terrorism threat of unmanned aircraft.

"The person flying the 2-foot helicopter that crashed called the Secret Service after the incident was widely reported and has been cooperating with agents, the agency said. Authorities didn't identify the person.

"The Secret Service said the crash appears to have 'occurred as a result of recreational use of the device,' but officials said the agency is still following up on other leads.

Continue reading the WSJ article, and a follow-up WSJ article entitled "Criminals, Terrorists Find Uses for Drones, Raising Concerns," both of which feature interviews with Dr. Humphreys.

KXAN

"The man considered to be one of the biggest influences in the transportation world is in Austin this week. Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk addressed a crowd Thursday at the 10th Annual Texas Transportation Forum. Musk, who has overseen product development and design for all of Tesla’s electric cars, also is the creative spark behind the development of rockets and spacecraft for SpaceX. Musk’s work embodies the idea of transformation, which is the theme of this year’s Texas Transportation Forum.

Continue reading the article, which features an interview with Dr. Humphreys, at KXAN

gpsworld

"In the summer of 2012, a small robotic helicopter, painted Texas Longhorns orange and white, climbed into the air above the team’s empty football field in Austin. Then the device suddenly plummeted toward the grass, its controller overridden by a team of university- sanctioned hackers. A few days later, in the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the same group (with permission) easily hijacked the university’s $80,000 military-grade drone.

"No one had ever done the attack that we did before,” says Todd Humphreys, director of the Radionavigation Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin. At least not in the declassified world. But that doesn’t mean it’s not easy to replicate. Humphreys’s team used a relatively simple hand-built radio device to exploit a major loophole in drone security: the devices’ reliance on unauthenticated position data beamed from GPS satellites."

Continue reading the article at Popular Science

Dr. Todd HumphreysDr. Humphreys lectured on "Drones: Myths, Facts, Hacks, and The Future" on Friday, November 21, 2014 as the 93rd installment of the Hot Science Cool Talks outreach series hosted by UT's Environmental Science Institute.

To view the recorded lecture visit the ESI website and click the “View Webcast” button.

"The drone revolution isn’t coming—it’s already here. Can UT expertise help us navigate the future?alcalade

"The stadium was buzzing. It was a balmy day in late August and more than 93,000 fans were finally getting to see the topic of endless hype for themselves. Thousands of articles had been written, teeth had been gnashed, hands were wrung, and no one—not even the experts—knew what would happen. They weren’t watching the game. They were watching a tiny white helicopter with four rotors and an array of flashing lights cruising high above the Longhorns’ season opener."

Continue reading the Alcalde article, which features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

gpsworld

A collaboration between the UT Radionavigation Lab, Cornell, and the White Rose of Drachs, is reported in the GPS World magazine.  

"A new method detects spoofing attacks that are resistant to standard RAIM technique and can sense an attack in a fraction of a second without external aiding. The signal-in-space properties used to detect spoofing are the relationships of the signal arrival directions to the vector that points from one antenna to the other. A real-time implementation succeeded against live-signal spoofing attacks aboard a superyacht, the White Rose of Drachs..., cruising in international waters."

Continue reading the article at GPS World

White Rose of DrachsBefore March 2013, the members of the UT Austin Radionavigation Lab and the Cornell GPS Lab had never heard of the superyacht called the White Rose of Drachs... They did, however, know something relevant to superyachts and other high-value maritime and aviation assets: how to spoof their GNSS navigation systems and how to detect spoofing attacks... The spoofing and detection tests started in earnest on Friday morning, June 27th, off the southern coast of Italy... The Cornell spoofing detection system ... correctly identified authentic GPS signals as such. It correctly identified spoofing attacks after the victim receiver had been dragged off to a false position and timing fix. 

Continue reading the series of Cornell blog posts.

NDRNorddeutscher Rundfunk (North German Broadcasting), a German public television service, produced the 44-minute documentary film "Im Visier der Hacker - Wie gefährlich wird das Netz?"  The film, whose title translates to "Targeted by the hackers: how dangerous is the power?," features interviews with Dr. Humphreys and Daniel Shepard on GPS spoofing.  The film is in German, but the producers are preparing English subtitles.  

Watch the film at NDR's website.

Christian Science Monitor"Commercial drones expected to fly US skies in coming years, delivering pizza or monitoring power lines, would be dangerously vulnerable to hackers without a variety of potentially costly countermeasures to their GPS navigation systems, results of a federal study indicate."

Continue reading the Christian Science Monitor article that features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

zakRadionavigation lab alum Dr. Zak Kassas will join the Electrical Engineering Department at The University of California, Riverside (UCR) in the Fall 2014 Quarter as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Kassas' Ph.D. focused on studying a novel navigation paradigm termed collaborative opportunistic navigation (COpNav). COpNav aims to exploit the plenitude of ambient radio frequency signals of opportunity in the environment (e.g., cellular phone, HDTV, AM/FM, etc) to enable navigation in GNSS-challenged environments, such as indoors, deep urban canyons, and environments under malicious attacks (e.g., jamming and spoofing). Prior to pursuing his Ph.D., Dr. Kassas was a Research & Development Engineer with the Control Design & Dynamical Systems Simulation group at National Instruments Corp. and an Adjunct Professor at Texas State University. Dr. Kassas is a senior member of the IEEE, has published more than twenty refereed journal and conference articles and a book chapter, and holds one U.S. patent. Dr. Kassas' research at UCR will span the areas of estimation, navigation, autonomous vehicles, and intelligent transportation systems.

Dr. Kassas recently held a seminar targeted at Ph.D. students and postdocs with academic career aspirations to share his advice on landing a faculty position.

 

sxswRNL presented at the 2014 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, TX, which offers the unique convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies.  

On Friday, March 7, Dr. Humphreys and Jahshan Bhatti presented "Location Deception: Yacht vs. GPS Spoofer."  Audio recording of the presentation is available on soundcloud.

 

bbc"If you were watching Iranian state TV in early December 2011, you would have seen an unusual flying object paraded in front of viewers. Windowless, squat, with a pointed nose, its two wings made it the shape of a manta ray. The trophy on show was an RQ-170 Sentinel stealth drone, a key weapon in the intelligence gathering arsenal of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Standing in a hangar on a military airfield, the drone was seemingly undamaged. Indeed, Iranian officials insisted that it had not been shot down; rather, they claimed an unusual coup: to have hacked the drone while it was flying near Iran’s border over Afghanistan and forced it to land." 

Continue reading the BBC article that features an interview with Dr. Humphreys. 

 

"pmNot everyone is thrilled with the rise of civilian drones in American skies. Last week, after Amazon hyped its plan to deliver packages in half an hour via UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), we wondered about the drone backlash happening in many part of the U.S. And while an angry few threatened to shoot down these delivery drones, a more pressing concern seems to be: What if people try to hack them?"

Continue reading the Popular Mechanics article that features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

 

"In a stunning display of engineering, students in the UT Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics hacked a superyacht’s GPS system in the Mediterranean Sea. They veered the $80 million vessel off course, proving that such a feat could be performed using cutting-edge technology. In fact, the students not only sent false GPS signals to the yacht’s navigation system, they actually created the device that originated the misdirection.

Using a process called spoofing, the students subtly gained control of the 213-foot yacht and veered it off course a few degrees at a time. When the system attempted to correct the location, the ship’s crew unknowingly adjusted their position by pointing the ship toward the new—and incorrect—path. The tech-savvy pirates gained permission for the project, but proved that security should be strengthened for such vessels, including aircraft, that use similar systems on a daily basis all over the world. Next time, hackers might not ask for consent."

Continue reading the article.

 

Austin, TX—Ken Pesyna kenwon the best paper presentation award in the Multi-Constellation/Portable Navigation Devices Session of the ION GNSS+ 2013 conference for his paper entitled "Precision Limits of Low-Energy GNSS Receivers."

Ken's research focuses on Tightly Coupled Opportunistic Navigation.

"The answer was Yes. The question: Could you hijack my yacht? Now, the rest of the story: I had just finished telling a conference audience how we brought down an drone with a specialized attack against its GPS sensor. A distinguished-looking man with a British accent handed me his card. "I don't suppose you could do the same with a 65-meter SuperYacht?""

Listen to the WAMC Northeast Public Radio Acadermic Minute interview with Dr. Humphreys.

"nytA hobbyist using a remote-control airplane mounted with a digital camera just happened to capture images last year of a Dallas creek running red with pig's blood. It led to a nearby meatpacking plant being fined for illegal dumping and two of its leaders being indicted on water pollution charges."

Continue reading the New York Times article that features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

"nprVisions of the future don't just have to come from science fiction. There's very real technology today giving us clues about how our future lives might be transformed. So what might our future look like? And what does it take for an idea about the future to become a reality? In this hour, TED speakers make some bold predictions and explain how we might live in the future."

Listen to the NPR Interview with Dr. Humphreys.

"Anyone who has used a Global Positioning System (GPS) navigator has seen the system's ability to tell you precisely where you are — and, most likely, has faced frustration when the device just doesn't work. Yet for the military — which uses GPS data for such mission-critical applications as target tracking, missile guidance, and simply getting around in foreign areas — GPS failure can be a matter of life or death. That's why military researchers, such as those at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, have long been exploring alternatives to the Global Positioning System."

Continue reading a Communications of the ACM article that features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

Austin, TX—Zak Kassas zakwon the best paper presentation award in the Estimation Session of the AIAA Guidance Navigation and Control (GNC) conference, 2012 for his paper entitled "Observability Analysis of Opportunistic Navigation with Pseudorange Measurements". The awards were announced during the 2013 GNC conference.

Zak's research focuses on devising novel techniques for opportunistic and collaborative navigation.

"mittrUniversity of Texas researchers recently tricked the navigation system of an $80 million yacht and sent the ship off course in an experiment that showed how any device with civilian GPS technology is vulnerable to a practice called spoofing.

Led by GPS expert Todd Humphreys, the researchers used a handheld device they built for about $2,000. It generates a fake GPS signal that appears identical to those sent out by the real GPS. The two signals reach the targeted system in perfect alignment. The strength of the fake signal slowly ratchets up and overtakes the real one."

Continue reading the MIT Technology Review article.

"nhprWith all great innovations comes the potential for mischief. With so much of our social, commercial, and government infrastructure already online, it’s highly likely that we’ve all been targeted by cyber-attacks, even if we haven’t directly felt their results. Cars, computer cams, ATMs, databases, and power grids can be hacked.  In a recent high profile case, a week before one of the world’s most elite hackers was scheduled to demonstrate how to interrupt pacemakers and implanted defibrillators, he was found dead in his apartment. A team at the University of Texas Austin recently experimented with a technique they call “GPS Spoofing.” While that may sound like a YouTube comedy series, “GPS Spoofing” could be used to deadly serious effect."

Listed to the NHPR audio interview.

"newshourIn June, a 213-foot luxury yacht sailed off the southern coast of Italy, when, suddenly, it veered off course. But this was no sinister act worthy of a spy flick. Instead, a team of researchers from the University of Texas at Austin had deliberately coerced the $80 million vessel from its track, without physically taking the helm.

With the blessing of those aboard, Professor Todd Humphreys and his graduate students employed a technique called “GPS spoofing” to effectively disorient the ship's positioning system. Changes went undetected by alarms, and the autopilot system shifted the yacht to what it thought was the original course, not one selected by Humphreys' team.

Watch the PBS NewsHour interview online.

"slateIt must be pretty cool to be one of Todd Humphreys’ engineering students at the University of Texas at Austin. Last year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security dared them to hack into a drone. (Which they did.) And this year, Humphreys and his students went to the Mediterranean to see if they could hijack an $80 million yacht.

It all started when Humphreys was giving a talk about navigation security at SXSW. After the presentation, a man approached him to say how impressed he was with the work Humphreys had done with drones. The man then handed him a card and said, “Do you think you could hijack my superyacht?”

Continue reading the Slate article.

"insidegnssIn a startling experiment a research team from the University of Texas successfully spoofed a ship’s GPS-based navigation system sending the 213-foot yacht hundreds of yards off course — without raising alarms or triggering a hint of the course change on the onboard monitors.

Led by assistant professor Todd Humphreys, the group used equipment what started as a faint ensemble of civil GPS signals. Those signals gradually increased in strength until they overpowered the true GPS signals, enabling them to fool the ship’s navigation system. The team sent the ship through a series of subtle maneuvers that ultimately put it on a parallel course hundreds of meters off its intended track."

Contine reading the InsideGNSS article.

"nbcA small team of researchers from the University of Texas at Austin recently tricked a 213-foot superyacht off its course using a custom-made GPS device, rendering the $80 million vessel's electronic maps and charts useless.

"People have come to trust their electronic chart displays," Todd Humphreys, team leader and assistant professor at UT's Cockrell School of Engineering, tells NBC News. These electronic chart displays get their information from civilian GPS signals — which are not encrypted. "The signals have a detailed structure, but they don't have defenses against counterfeiting " Humphreys says. As a result, he explains, "the concept of GPS spoofing has been known for maybe 20 years."

A small team of researchers from the University of Texas at Austin recently tricked a 213-foot superyacht off its course using a custom-made GPS device, rendering the $80 million vessel's electronic maps and charts useless."

Continue reading the NBC News article.

arstechnica"One of the world’s foremost academic experts in GPS spoofing—University of Texas assistant professor Todd Humphreys—released a short video on Monday showing how he and his students deceived the GPS equipment aboard an expensive superyacht.

Humphreys conducted the test in the Ionian Sea in late June 2013 and early July 2013 with the full consent of the “White Rose of Drachs” yacht captain. His work shows just how vulnerable and relatively easy it is to send out a false GPS signal and trick the on-board receiver into believing it."

Continue reading the Ars Technica article.

This summer, a radio navigation research team from The University of Texas at Austin set out to discover whether they could subtly coerce a 213-foot yacht off its course, using a custom-made GPS device.

Led by assistant professor Todd Humphreys of the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at the Cockrell School of Engineering, the team was able to successfully spoof an $80 million private yacht using the world’s first openly acknowledged GPS spoofing device. Spoofing is a technique that creates false civil GPS signals to gain control of a vessel’s GPS receivers. The purpose of the experiment was to measure the difficulty of carrying out a spoofing attack at sea and to determine how easily sensors in the ship’s command room could identify the threat.

Continue reading the Cockrell School press release.  

foxnews"The world’s GPS system is vulnerable to hackers or terrorists who could use it to hijack ships—even commercial airliners, according to a frightening new study that exposes a huge potential hole in national security.

Using a laptop, a small antenna and an electronic GPS “spoofer” built for $3,000, GPS expert Todd Humphreys and his team at the University of Texas took control of the sophisticated navigation system aboard an $80 million, 210-foot super-yacht in the Mediterranean Sea. “We injected our spoofing signals into its GPS antennas and we’re basically able to control its navigation system with our spoofing signals,” Humphreys told Fox News."

Continue reading the Fox News article.

Watch the Special Edition video report.

Additional local Austin coverage:

Todd Humphreys is the Director of the Radionavigation Lab at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is also an Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering. As one of the world's leading experts on GPS technology, Dr. Humphreys caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for his recent research on defending against intentional GPS jamming of drones over U.S. airspace.

On this episode of Game Changers, Professor Humphreys addresses the current use and future potential of GPS technology.

Game Changers brings The University of Texas at Austin's intellectual talent beyond the classroom with an hour-long show to be broadcast on the Longhorn Network, where you can view the entire program.

View the Game Changers video on YouTube .

"cbsIt's not just birds and planes in the sky anymore -- drones are on the rise. But how much do we know about the flying machines? As the technology progresses, it appears that the aerial devices are also getting smarter.

Drones come in a variety of shapes and sizes that range from the small, radio-controlled devices flown by hobbyists to military machines larger than a human. But there are a few ways to identify and categorize them."

Contine reading the CBS article that features and interview with Dr. Humphreys.

"apmWeb forums in the U.K. are buzzing about photos depicting a possible weaponized drone in China. Wired Magazine reports experts are pointing to the so called Li-Jian -- or Sharp Sword -- an Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle. A recent Pentagon report predicts the Chinese military will soon unveil new long-range drones.

Domestic drones are getting more attention from the government in New Jersey. State legislators want to restrict all drone use in the state unless there's a terrorist attack. A more lenient bill is also being considered. It would allow firefighters and police to use unmanned aerial vehicles."

Continue listening to the Marketplace audio clip that features and interview with Dr. Humphreys.

sxsw_interactiveRNL presented at the 2013 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, TX, which offers the unique convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies.

On Wednesday, March 6, Dr. Humphreys presented at "Drones.edu: Hands on the Future in the Classroom."

On Friday, March 8, Dr. Humphreys presented "Extreme GPS: Limits of Security & Precision"
To listen to the audio click here.
To download the presentation click here

"gizmagTodd Humphreys and his students at the University of Texas in Austin are tired of waiting for augmented reality that meets the promise of the technology we've been hearing about and seeing in science fiction for years now. So they set out to build it themselves, and presented a very rough prototype for the first time at the South By Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSW) in Austin on Friday."

Continue reading the gizmag article.

Austin, TX—Zak Kassas zak received the Research Excellence Award, which is awarded by the Graduate Engineering Council at the Graduate and Industry Networking (GAIN) Event. This award is granted to the best 10 graduate engineering research presentations out of 75 presentations at the GAIN Event as judged by representatives from the industry and faculty. GAIN is a broad Networking opportunity and an academically rigorous competition that allows The Cockrell School of Engineering to showcase its best and brightest graduate students.

Zak's research focuses on devising novel techniques for opportunistic and collaborative navigation.

"Many say it’s only a matter of time before unmanned aircraft, otherwise known as drones, are used routinely for such tasks as traffic monitoring, battling forest fires and looking for lost children. The government already uses surveillance drones to monitor our border with Mexico. Some police departments and a few universities have permits to use them as well. The Federal Aviation Administration has been charged with coming up with a plan for widespread commercial use by 2015, but many say safety and privacy issues need to be addressed. Join us for a debate over the rules for domestic drones.

Listen to the audio clip that features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

"myfoxaustinState lawmakers may decide to ban drone surveillance of private property in Texas. A University of Texas professor fears that bill could hurt the research being done on those eyes in the sky. The university has an $80,000 drone that has been used by engineering professor Todd Humphreys to prove that the security of drones can be compromised.

"We showed that you can hack into a GPS system of one of these drones and like a tractor beam you can bring it down out of the air." But, using that technology could be prevented in the future.

State Representative Lance Gooden (R, District 4) has introduced a bill called 'The Texas Privacy Act' that would ban drone surveillance of private property by everyone from aviation hobbyists to law enforcement."

Continue reading the myFOXaustin article that features a video interview with Dr. Humphreys.

nytA drone, no bigger than a toy airplane, hovered north of the Texas Capitol, floating over the heads of lawmakers who were momentarily distracted from their morning meetings. Several of them gathered beneath it, faces tilted skyward, marveling over a pair of goggles that allowed them to watch live video of the craft’s panoramic bird’s-eye view.

But when the conversation turned to the reason for the demonstration, the tone shifted. Representative Lance Gooden, Republican of Terrell, said he was sponsoring legislation to prevent this futuristic technology — increasingly used by everyone from aviation hobbyists to law enforcement authorities — from capturing “indiscriminate surveillance.”

Continue reading the New York Times article, which features an interveiw with Dr. Humphreys.

Los Angeles, CA—Dr. Humphreys visited the GPS Directorate at the Los Angeles Air Force Base to brief them on the state of the art in secure GPS PNT. You can view his presentation here.

Austin, TX—Dr. Humphreys gave a GPS World webinar on the future directions of GPS research. You can view his presentation here.

Houston, TX—On October 25, 2012 at 10:00 am Assistant Professor Todd Humphreys will appear as a witness before Congress during a field forum to discuss the appropriate domestic use of drones. The forum will be hosted by U.S. Congressman Ted Poe and has been sanctioned by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. It will be held at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

Continue reading the press release.

Watch the recorded testimony (starts at 31:55).

Read Dr. Humphreys's written testimony here.

The 10th annual Texas Wireless Summit continues the tradition of providing a forum for industry leaders to discuss emerging technologies and business models that will shape the industry over the upcoming two to three years. Co-hosted by the Austin Technology Incubator and The University of Texas at Austin’s Wireless Networking and Communications Group (WNCG), The Summit has direct access to cutting edge research and innovations from industry leaders, investors and startups. The Texas Wireless Summit is a keynote and panel driven discussion that enables the speakers and audience to engage to drive the conversation forward.

The location keynote address was given by Kanwar Chadha CEO and founder of Inovi and founder of SiRF. 

On the location panel were Kanwar Chadha, Bernard Briggs (CTO of T3), and Alexander (Sasha) Mitelman (Navigation Consultant).

Unmanned remote aircraft are being used by police and other groups across the skies of Texas. But a professor at the University of Texas says he could bring one of those drones down by simply using his brain.

"It's a hacking attack," says Dr. Todd Humphreys, a UT engineering professor.

Continue reading the Local 2 Houston News article.

 

humphreys_gnss_awardAustin, TX—At the magazine's annual Leadership Dinner, held during the ION-GNSS Conference, we gave the first GNSS Leadership Awards to four individuals for their respective work in the four fields of satellites, signals, services, and products. These are not lifetime or career achievement awards, but recognition of significant contribution in the last year or two. Think of them as the Oscars, the Academy Awards of GNSS, if you will, for significant recent achievement.

Several people were nominated in each category by a small group, then voted on by a larger group of about 40, including the magazine's Editorial Advisory Board, the contributing editors, and a dozen industry executives.

In the Signals category: Todd Humphreys, Director, Radionavigation Laboratory, and assistant professor, University of Texas at Austin. Leader of several seminal studies on spoofing and jamming; testified this summer before Congress on the subject.

Continue reading the award notice that contains Dr. Humphreys's acceptance speech.

"iiCould the next big trading glitch come from the sky? An expert in satellite technology says it’s possible, and he wants more traders and investors to be aware of the potential problem. The danger lies with the global positioning satellite system, according to Todd Humphreys, a professor of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics at the University of Texas at Austin. High frequency traders depend on GPS technology for accurate time signals to guide their trading strategies, but the satellite system’s rooftop receivers are vulnerable to jamming, he contends. GPS signals can also become the target of hacking attacks, known as “spoofing,” that can send out false time signals and disrupt trading, he adds."

Continue reading the Institutional Investor article.

 

gaoThe GAO Report to Congressional Requestors titled "Unmanned Aircraft Systems" notes that: 

"GPS spoofing has also been identified as an emerging issue. Encrypting civil GPS signals could make it more difficult to “spoof” or counterfeit a GPS signal that could interfere with the navigation of a UAS. Non-military GPS signals, unlike military GPS signals, are not encrypted and transparency and predictability make them vulnerable to being counterfeited, or spoofed. In a GPS-spoofing scenario, the GPS signal going from the ground control station to the UAS is first counterfeited and then overpowered. Once the authentic (original) GPS signal is overpowered, the UAS is under the control of the “spoofer.” This type of scenario was recently demonstrated by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin at the behest of DHS. During the demonstration at the White Sands Missile Range, researchers spoofed one element of the unencrypted GPS signal of a fairly sophisticated small UAS (mini- helicopter) and induced it to plummet toward the desert floor. The research team found that it was straightforward to mount an intermediate- level spoofing attack, such as controlling the altitude of the UAS, but difficult and expensive to mount a more sophisticated attack. The research team recommended that spoof-resistant navigation systems be required on UAS exceeding 18 pounds."

Continue reading the GAO report (GAO-12-981).

"While the Iranian capture of the Sentinel caught public attention, it also allowed researchers to show that spoofing technology has been, and continues to be, closely investigated by a number of military and civilian facilities in the United States.

Probably the leading–or at least the most public–GPS spoofing research center in the U.S. is at the University of Texas at Austin. In April, in response to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) invitation, a University of Texas team took a commercial unmanned helicopter of the type used by police departments to the DoD White Sands, N.M. proving ground, along with the University’s GPS spoofing system. The helicopter was equipped with an autoflight system directed through GPS inputs, but with a manual control override."

Continue reading the Aviation International News article.

regentsAwardSmall

Austin, TX—Assistant Professor Todd E. Humphreys has been selected to receive the prestigious 2012 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award from The University of Texas System.

Established in 2008, the awards are offered annually in recognition of faculty members of the nine University of Texas System academic institutions who have demonstrated extraordinary classroom performance and innovation in undergraduate instruction, and are the Board of Regents’ highest honor.

“Professor Humphreys is a truly special case, “ASE/EM Department Chair, Professor Philip Varghese said. “He joined UT a couple of years ago and has excelled in teaching and in every other respect. He has significantly overhauled two undergraduate courses, making them more engaging and, probably, more demanding. Despite the rigor of his courses, he has stellar teaching evaluations in both graduate and undergraduate courses.”

Continue reading the ASE article.

For more information about the award and a video tribute to the awardees, please click here.

"aviationweekEase with which GPS can be spoofed raises concerns about civil UAVs. A video fo a small unmanned heicopter dropping from hover like a stone, its operator unaware control has been hijacked, threatens plans to open civil airspace to UAS (unmanned aerial systems) by exposing the vulnerability of GPS to counterfeit signals, or spoofing."

Continue reading the Aviation Week and Space Technology article that features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

"eetimesAfter testifying before Congress about security vulnerabilities in civil GPS systems last week, Todd Humphreys is convinced the industry needs a new approach to plugging holes in what he calls “the most popular unauthenticated protocol in the world.”

“There’s a way to add backward-compatible authentication like digital watermarks to GPS signals, and last week I had my best shot at convincing lawmakers to fix the problem at the signal source,” said Humphreys who directs the Radionavigation Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin."

Continue reading the EE Times article.

testify

Washington, DC—Dr. Humphreys testified before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Management on the threat of spoofing the civil GPS signals that guide unmanned aerial vehicles in flight.

The oral testimony can be viewed online here.  Dr. Humphreys testimony begins at 11:00.

A copy of the written testimony can be read here.

"marinetimesA University of Texas team spent less than $1,000 to construct a GPS “spoofing” device that commandeered an unmanned aerial vehicle and sent it veering off course. After initially demonstrating the concept on campus in Austin, Assistant Professor Todd Humphreys and his team were invited out to White Sands, N.M., on June 19 by skeptical Department of Homeland Security officials and proved that they were able to divert a UAV from its flight path from about a kilometer away, according to a university news release. “The recent demonstration by University of Texas at Austin researchers is the first known unequivocal demonstration that commandeering a UAV via GPS spoofing is technically feasible,” the release states."

Continue reading the Marine Corps Times article.

"bloombergbusinessweekOne of the greatest advantages of drones—for gathering intelligence, patrolling borders, doing weather research, or killing terrorists—is that they can be piloted by people who are on the ground and far away. They can do dangerous, difficult, tedious tasks without requiring the risk of human lives. For their critics, there is a flip side to this: Drones risk making it too easy to kill without perceived consequences, or spy, or monitor every instant of everyone’s lives. Now there’s something new to worry about. If we can control our drones at a distance, what’s to ensure that someone else won’t do it, too? How easy would it be for someone to hijack a drone and Svengali-like, get it to do what they wanted, instead of its mission? Not as hard as one might hope. That’s what a team led by Todd Humphreys, an assistant professor at the University of Texas, Austin, and head of its Radionavigation Laboratory, proved last month."

Continue Reading the Bloomber Businessweek Technology article.

 

"abcGraduate students from the University of Texas who hijacked a civilian drone aircraft have demonstrated just how easy it would be to redirect unmanned vehicles—so-called UAVs that someday may do everything from delivering pizza to our doorstep to tracking stolen cars and aiding law enforcement. The hijacking was done over White Sands, New Mexico, at the request of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Officials with the department wanted to know if the students could actually do it. They did. The department has been reluctant even to talk about it. And the professor behind the capture has mixed emotions."

Continue reading the ABC article.

"nprA professor at The University of Texas has figured out how to intercept drones while in flight. Todd Humphreys and his team taps into the GPS coordinates of a civilian drone and can alter the flight path, even land it. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz speaks with Humphreys about how he did it and the dangers that hacking can present."

Continue to NPR to listen to the radio interview.

"wiredOn the evening of June 19, a group of researchers from the University of Texas successfully hijacked a civilian drone at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico during a test organized by the Department of Homeland Security. The drone, an Adaptive Flight Hornet Mini, was hovering at around 60 feet, locked into a predetermined position guided by GPS. Then, with a device that cost around $1,000 and the help of sophisticated software that took four years to develop, the researchers sent a radio signal from a hilltop one kilometer away. In security lingo, they carried out a spoofing attack. “We fooled the UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) into thinking that it was rising straight up,” says Todd Humphreys, assistant professor at the Radionavigation Laboratory at the University of Texas."

Continue reading the WIRED Danger Room article.

Read a follow-up article published after the congressional hearing.

"cnnBy 2015, unmanned drones will be allowed in U.S. airspace, raising many questions about our national security and privacy. What some University of Texas researchers set out to prove was whether it took much effort to hack them. With just $1,000 worth of software, the group was able to successfully hijack a civilian drone. Dr. Todd Humphreys and his team of students first experimented at the University of Texas at Austin. Then, the team was asked to demonstrate the process for the Department of Homeland Security. Dr. Humphreys and graduate student Daniel Shepherd explain how they were able to hack into the drone, and what implications it has for our nation's safety."

Continue to CNN to watch the video interview with Daniel Shepard and Dr. Humphreys.

todd_drone"aasAfter a dress rehearsal at Royal-Memorial Stadium, University of Texas researchers traveled to New Mexico last month and demonstrated for U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials how an unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, can be commandeered by hacking into its navigation system.

The technique, known as spoofing, created false Global Positioning System signals that tricked the drone's GPS receiver into steering a new course.

The Global Positioning System, which uses satellites and radio signals, is not encrypted for civilian uses, and that raises concern about the federal government's plan to permit thousands of drones in U.S. air space for commercial, law enforcement and university purposes, said Todd Humphreys, an assistant professor in UT's Cockrell School of Engineering. "The dirty fact is it's an open signal, and easily hacked," Humphreys said."

Continue reading the Austin American Statesman article.

"cbsThe use of drones is taking off in America. Local governments and private businesses see them as a cheap and effective way of maintaining an eye from the sky. But will the drones be fully under their control? A college professor and his students say not necessarily. A civilian drone aircraft was hijacked by Prof. Todd Humphreys and his graduate students at the University of Texas. They were able to hack into the GPS signals of the drone, not only manipulating its flight path while flying over White Sands, New Mexico, but later landing it. Humphreys told CBS News, "You can think of this as hijacking a plane from a distance. (It's) as if you're at the controls of the plane, because you've now captured the autopilot's sense of its own navigation solution. And you can manipulate it left or right, up or down."

Continue reading the CBS article that features a video interview with Dr. Humphreys.

"rtTodd Humphreys’ tale about hacking a civilian drone in front of the Department of Homeland Security has gone viral since he conducted the experiment last month. Now the assistant professor at the University of Texas explains his work to RT. In an interview with RT America this week, Todd Humphreys of the University of Texas at Austin’s Radionavigation Laboratory reveals that it only took a few researchers, around $1,000 in parts and some seriously smart software to send signals to an unmanned aerial vehicle’s GPS receiver, hijack the craft in mid-air and then have it do the department’s bidding—all right in front of Homeland Security agents."

Continue reading the RT article that features a video interview with Dr. Humphreys.

RT's video interview can also be viewed on YouTube.

"kutA University of Texas professor recently hacked into the GPS system of a drone aircraft and take control of it using less than $1,000 worth of equipment. The achievement may have implications for the future use of drones in the United States and abroad. Let’s say you’re hungry and you’ve craving a meal from your favorite restaurant. But instead of a delivery car pulling up to the curb, a drone lands at your front door. It could happen. Todd Humphreys of the Radionavigation Laboratory at UT Austin thinks so.

Continue reading the KUT article that features an audio interview with Dr. Humphreys.

"alcaladeThere are a few reasons for a Longhorn football practice to be moved—a tornado, hail, and fire come to mind—but a science experiment isn’t usually one of them. But it wasn’t just any science experiment that caused UT Athletics officials to relocate the Longhorns’ strength-training practice last week: it was a demo that revealed a new danger to our national security. “It was funny,” says Todd Humphreys, director of UT’s Radionavigation Lab. “We were doing this huge, unprecedented demo, and the students were most excited about the fact that they moved football practice for us.” Humphreys and a group of engineering students have dedicated their time to researching a powerful new GPS technology known as spoofing, through which one GPS signal is replaced by another.

Continue reading the Alcalde article.

"cselogoA University of Texas at Austin research team successfully demonstrated for the first time that the GPS signals of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or drone, can be commandeered by an outside source—a discovery that could factor heavily into the implementation of a new federal mandate to allow thousands of civilian drones into the U.S. airspace by 2015. Cockrell School of Engineering Assistant Professor Todd Humphreys and his students were invited by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to attempt the demonstration in White Sands, New Mexico in late June. Using a small but sophisticated UAV along with hardware and software developed by Humphreys and his students, the research team repeatedly overtook navigational signals going to the GPS-guided vehicle.

Continue reading the UT Engineering article.